The account of Jesus feeding 5,000 is reported in all four gospel accounts. While the crowds were following Him in a deserted place (Mt. 14:15), He provided bread. This calls to mind the provision of manna during Israel’s journey away from Egyptian bondage under Moses (Ex. 16). Once He gave this miraculous supply, Jesus perceived that the crowds were about to come and take Him by force to make Him a king (Jn. 16:15). Perhaps they thought if Moses had led Israel out of slavery in Egypt, then certainly Jesus—if He was the Prophet like Moses that was to come (Deut. 18:15)—would help first-century Jews escape Roman dominion. Jesus, however, departed to a mountain by Himself alone (Jn. 6:15). Mark’s account shows that when the multitudes were filled, immediately Jesus and His disciples got in a boat to go to the other side of the sea to Bethsaida (6:45). Thus, John 6:15 explains the reasons for the movement described in Mark 6:45.
Jesus did come to be king, but not the sort of king they were wanting. Their ambitions were diverted toward physical provisions, distracting them from what really mattered, as Jesus later said when they continued pursuing Him: “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him” (Jn. 6:27). Their ambitions also put them in direct conflict with the Roman government, but Jesus did not come to arm His servants to fight to establish an earthly kingdom (Jn. 18:36). Jesus continually resisted the temptation to make all the kingdoms of this world His (Mt. 4:8-10; Lk. 4:5-8).
Jesus was born to be king (Jn. 18:37). The kingdom of Jesus is not earthly, but spiritual. It is in the hearts of those who follow Him (Lk. 17:20-21). Jesus came to earth to save people from their sins (Mt. 1:21). Jesus is Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36), and those who are baptized into Him are forgiven of sins (Acts 2:38). One in Christ is delivered from condemnation (Rom. 8:1). When a man obeys the gospel, the Lord adds Him to His church (Acts 2:47); he is transferred into the kingdom of the beloved Son of God (Col. 1:13). He is delivered from this present evil world (Gal. 1:4). All things have been placed under Jesus, who reigns as head over the church (Eph. 1:22-23). Jesus is Lord of lords and King of kings (Rev. 17:14). He will reign until the end when He gives the kingdom to the Father (1 Cor. 15:24).
Many do not obey the gospel; they do not submit themselves to the authority of the King of kings. While it is true that a mind set on the flesh cannot please God because it will not submit (Rom. 8:7), that does not mean that men are not amenable to the Lord Jesus Christ. The whole world is accountable to God (Rom. 3:19). Sin is a transgression of God’s law (Rom. 4:15; 1 Jn. 3:4). If the world is under no law to God, then the world could not sin. However, the world lies in sin and wickedness, unrighteous and guilty before a righteous Lord (Rom. 3:19-23; 1 Jn. 5:17-19). Jesus will be the judge of the whole world on the final day (Mt. 25:31-32; Acts 17:30-31; 2 Cor. 5:10). On the day all stand before the judgment seat, every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess His rightful rule (Rom. 14:10-11).